Category Archives: Movie Hosts

DARK JUNGLE THEATER (2015-2016): MOVIE HOST SHOW

dark jungle theaterHere at Balladeer’s Blog my fascination with Movie Host shows of the past and present is pretty well established. I’ve written about such programs from the 1950s onward. Not long ago I covered “the Mexican MST3K” – A Platicar a su Casa, which has been translated into English as Let’s Talk at HomeDo Your Talking at Home and similar titles.

The Movie Host show being examined this time around is Dark Jungle Theater, which lasted for 2 seasons consisting of 26 episodes from March 15th, 2015 to January 8th, 2016. Dark Jungle Theater was hosted by Omaka Omegah as Princess Omaka, an African aristocrat who hosted and offered commentary on many jungle-themed movies and serials of the past.

princess omakaThis program was created, written and produced by Joel Stephens, famous for his many Movie Host programs that combine assorted old movies, cartoons and serials with the tradition of attractive female hosts introducing and commenting upon such superannuated programming. Similar Movie Host shows from Stephens include Frightmare Theater, Six Gun Theater, Mobster Theater, Your Afternoon Movie and others.

princess omaka againGetting back to Dark Jungle Theater, here is an overview:

SEASON ONE: Princess Omaka hosted 13 jungle-themed flicks with 12 of them preceded by 1 episode each from the old Republic serial Panther Girl of the Kongo (1955).

EPISODE 1 – Panther Girl of the Kongo, Chapter One: The Claw Monster – Phyllis Coates, famous for playing Lois Lane, was the titular Panther Girl, Jean Evans, who swung from vines, rode elephants and communicated with the animals in Tarzan style. This chapter finds her facing a giant crayfish monster. B-Movie regular Myron Healey co-stars. Continue reading

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FORGOTTEN TELEVISION: LET’S TALK AT HOME/ A PLATICAR A SU CASA

a platicar a su casaLET’S TALK AT HOME (2000s) – This cult program is often called “Mexico’s MST3K.” Its Spanish language title is A Platicar a su Casa, which has been translated into English as Let’s Talk at Home, Do Your Talking at Home and similar titles.

The premise of this Mexican Movie Host show borrows from Joel Hodgson’s 1988 creation Mystery Science Theater 3000, which took movie hosting to the logical next level by having the hosts make jokes about the bad film being shown even while it was playing, rather than limiting comments about the flick to before and after commercial breaks.

mexican movie hosts andres and trinoBalladeer’s Blog has written a great deal about earlier Movie Host shows, from 1950s efforts like Vampira, Mad Marvin and others on up through Moona Lisa and Ghoulardi in the 60s and 70s to 1980s programs like Elvira’s Movie Macabre, Texas 27 Film Vault, Laraine Newman’s Canned Film Festival, etc,

A Platicar a su Casa was shown on Mexico’s channel Ponchivision in the early 2000s. It’s been off the air for several years due to Ponchivision’s obscurity and budget issues, but the program has a devoted following to this very day with episodes popping up around the internet.

trino camachoandres bustamenteThe wisecracking hosts were Andres Bustamente and Trino Camacho, two legends in Mexican comedy. The jokes were what you would expect – shots at the poor quality and/or low budget of the films, their odd storylines plus some social and political commentary about life in Mexico. Continue reading

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GLEN OR GLENDA (1953): ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Glen or GlendaBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show. Balladeer’s Blog continues its celebration of this overlooked Movie Host program. 

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Unknown but definitely before May of 1986. One of the old newspaper articles from early May of that year refers to Glen or Glenda as one of the movies having already been shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault. Anyone with more specific info feel free to contact me.

SERIAL: Unknown. Again, if you have info contact me.  

COMEDY SKETCHES: Unknown. We’ve exhausted the episodes where I DO know the date, serial and sketches. 

THE MOVIE: Continue reading

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LARAINE NEWMAN’S CANNED FILM FESTIVAL (1986)

ritzTHE CANNED FILM FESTIVAL STARRING LARAINE NEWMAN (1986) – Halloween Month continues at Balladeer’s Blog with this look at a neglected Movie Host show, since Movie Hosts/ Horror Hosts are as associated with Halloween as are monsters and cosplay.

In this post I won’t be covering the entire history of movie hosting and the “So Bad They’re Good” film subculture. For that, there are my many other blog posts covering movie hosting from Vampira and her contemporaries, through Moona Lisa, then Son of Svengoolie, Elvira, and programs like Saturday Night Dead, The Texas 27 Film Vault and MST3K

canned film festival castTHE SHOW: The Canned Film Festival Starring Laraine Newman. From June 21st to September 13th of 1986 this 90 minute syndicated program sponsored largely by Dr Pepper aired on Saturday nights in various time slots around the United States. Elvira’s show Movie Macabre had run from 1981 to 1986 and was winding down. The Texas 27 Film Vault, which had debuted on February 9th, 1985 was still on the air and would run for roughly two and a half years in Texas and Oklahoma.

Along came The Canned Film Festival, which, with a nationally known name like Laraine Newman attached to it, may well have been the reason that one of the attempted syndication deals for T27FV fell through. Be that as it may, Laraine Newman’s show would – like The Texas 27 Film Vault – show more than just lame horror and sci-fi films and would cover the whole spectrum of bad and/ or campy cinema of the past.

laraine as the usheretteTHE HOSTESS: Laraine Newman may be best known for Saturday Night Live and for her character actress work, but she had been a member of The Groundlings improvisational comedy troupe … As had Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira. Newman was also known as an aficionado of horror and fringe cinema. Continue reading

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TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT 3D POSTER (1987)

FILMVreducedRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for Movie Host shows of the past and my EXCLUSIVE interview with Randy Clower of the mid-1980s program The Texas 27 Film Vault has proven to be a very popular item on this blog.

Randy and his cohost Richard Malmos, playing machine gun- packing Film Vault Technicians First Class, would show and mock bad and campy films from decades ago and were a huge hit when they were on the air. I feel they get neglected in this age of renewed interest in older Movie Host programs. 

The poster also sports features from some of the most popular bad movies Randy and Richard dissected on the program – features like flying brains from the movie Fiend Without A Face, a prop from the Bela Lugosi bomb Devil Bat, Hitler’s disembodied head from the enjoyably awful movie They Saved Hitler’s Brain, an invader from Earth vs the Flying Saucers and much more! Put on your 3D glasses and you can spot all of the hidden items including elements from Gorilla at Large, Just Imagine,  Frontier Marshal, the 1961 film The Mask and other T27FV fan favorites. Continue reading

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FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3D (1982): ON THE TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT

Friday the 13th Part 3DBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show. 

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday February 14th, 1987 from 10:30pm to 1:00am. 

SERIAL: None. The movie, Film Vault Corps comedy sketches and commercials filled up the entire two and a half hours this time.

FILM VAULT LORE: This episode marked the second time The Texas 27 Film Vault came with a warning about violent content. It was also at least the second time they riffed on a movie that was originally in 3-D. Randy and Richard did various jokes about wearing 3-D glasses and 3-D effects coming out of the screen at them as they watched the movie.

Randy and Richard firing their machine guns at giant rats, cellumites and other subterranean creatures.

Randy and Richard firing their machine guns on the T27FV 3D poster.

When you throw in the previous year’s “Mock 3D” interview with Ben Johnson and the 1987 release of The Texas 27 Film Vault‘s official 3-D poster you could say Randy, Richard, Ken “Tex” Miller, Joe Riley and Laurie Savino had a definite fondness for taking shots at the whole 3-D concept.  

 FOR A LOOK AT THE 3-D TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT POSTER (courtesy of Randy Clower) –https://glitternight.com/2013/03/18/movie-hosts-the-texas-27-film-vault-poster/  

THE MOVIE: Friday the 13th Part 3-D was the most notoriously lame sequel in the Friday the 13th film series during the 1980s. Not only was it part of the laughable 1980s attempt to revive the 3-D craze of the 1950s but it’s also infamous for its DISCO VERSION of the iconic Friday the 13th theme. However it’s essential viewing for horror fans because it was the first time Jason Voorhees put on the hockey mask that is so closely associated with the character.    Continue reading

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INVADERS FROM MARS (1953) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Invaders from MarsBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! Before Joel and Mike there were Randy and Richard! Before Pearl, Devil Dogs and Deep 13 there came Laurie Savino, Cellumites and Level 31!

In the middle 1980s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday June 7th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

Atom Man vs SupermanSERIAL: Before showing and mocking Invaders from Mars our members of the Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) showed and mocked an episode of the 1950 Columbia serial Atom Man vs Superman. Kirk Alyn starred as Superman with Lyle Talbot as his archenemy Lex Luthor. Lex has his own secret identity in this serial – each episode he dons a lead mask and oversees the villainy as “Atom Man”.

This was one of the liveliest and most campily watchable serials of the 50s. Especially laughable are the bits when Superman “flies” – an effect achieved by switching from live footage of Kirk Alyn to INSERTED CARTOON FOOTAGE of Superman flying. Think of the ‘Toons in Roger Rabbit interacting with the live backgrounds and you have the idea.

A behind the scenes photo of Laurie Savino, who held the rank of Mystery Clip Technician in the Film Vault Corps.

A behind the scenes photo of Laurie Savino, who held the rank of Mystery Clip Technician in the Film Vault Corps.

FILM VAULT LORE: This week Laurie Savino, who held the rank of Mystery Clip Technician in the Film Vault Corps once again presented Channel 27’s Movie Ticket Giveaway.

Correctly identifying the Mystery Clip this time around would win a few lucky viewers tickets to the upcoming release of the 1986 remake of Invaders from Mars, starring Karen Black. 

HOST SEGMENTS/ COMEDY SKETCHES – One of the comedy bits Randy and Richard injected into the film this time involved Jimmy Hunt, who played David Maclean, the child hero of the movie.

Whenever Hunt would say something harmless like “Gee Whiz” the Film Vault Guys would bleep part of it to make it sound like the kid had said “Jesus” and was getting censored. And so it went throughout the movie. Little Jimmy – but, hilariously, NONE of the adults, would occassionally get bleeped misleadingly as if cursing like a sailor.

That is one foul-mouthed little boy!

That is one foul-mouthed little boy!

A word beginning with “sh” would be bleeped like Jimmy was saying “shit”, a word beginning with “f” would be bleeped like Jimmy was saying “fuck”, multi-syllable “m” words would be bleeped like he was saying “motherfucking”. It was like a more adult throwback to the old “Cleveland-style” of movie hosting, dating back to the legendary Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson). 

THE MOVIE: Invaders from Mars is a very fun-bad movie complete with cheap and unconvincing 1950s special effects, stiff and unbelievable characters and a groan-inducing finale.

Some elderly critics praise this movie nostalgically and try to present it as a metaphor for anti-Communist paranoia, like the more-deserving Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Anybody who didn’t see this thing as a child in 1953 tends to view it more realistically: as a kitschy relic of its era, entertaining but hardly thought-provoking.  Continue reading

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KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK (1978) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

KISS Meets the Phantom of the ParkIn the middle 1980s/ Way down on Level 31 –

Randy Clower and Richard Malmos of The Texas 27 Film Vault (both lower right) featured in a Movie Host article with Stella from Saturday Night Dead and Elvira.

Randy Clower and Richard Malmos of The Texas 27 Film Vault (both lower right) featured in a Movie Host article with Stella from Saturday Night Dead and Elvira.

Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the mid-1980s.

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday May ??, 1987 from 10:30pm to 1:00 am. Exact date is still being debated. Any Vaulties with further information please feel free to contact me.

EXTRAS: Every single nanosecond of this film is riff-worthy, so with the usual comedy sketches from the Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) added on plus commercials there was no time for an episode of a Republic or Columbia serial before the movie this time. Randy and Richard, our machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class were able to get to the movie quickly.  Continue reading

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THE HYPNOTIC EYE (1960) ON THE TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT

Hypnotic EyeIn the middle 1980s/ Way down on Level 31 …

Before MST3K there was The Texas 27 Film Vault! Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another film shown and mocked by Film Vault Technicians First Class Randy Clower and Richard Malmos.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday April 12th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am. 

Radar Men from the MoonSERIAL: Radar Men from the Moon was the current serial being shown. This episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault featured Chapter Nine titled Battle in the Stratosphere. During the 12 week run of this serial one of the behind the scenes crew (no one remembers who at this point) would dress as Commando Cody, the hero of the serial, and occassionally interact with Randy and Richard during the comedy sketches. 

FILM VAULT LORE: This was supposedly the favorite episode of the Film Vault Corp’s effects man Joe Riley, which is why he used the title The Hypnotic Eye for his post-T27FV television show, episodes of which are on Youtube.

Texas 27 Film Vault posterCOMEDY SKETCHES : This episode aired when Randy still “outranked” Richard in the Film Vault Corps and so their relationship often had the “Main Character and Abused Second Banana” vibe like with Zacherle and My Dear, or Dr Morgus and Chopsley or Dr Forester and TV’s Frank. (F-Troop fans might describe it as a “Sgt O’Rourke and Cpl Agarn vibe.”)

The Host Segments therefore featured Richard supposedly being subjected to the type of mutilation the hypnotized female victims in The Hypnotic Eye were inflicting on themselves. Joe Riley’s special effect of Richard’s hair being set on fire was as intentionally laughable as the effect in the movie itself.  

THE MOVIE:   Continue reading

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TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT ANNIVERSARY AND A CALL TO FANS

1a randy and richard

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

*** SADLY, I FORGOT TO NOTE THE FEBRUARY 9th ANNIVERSARY OF THIS SHOW THIS YEAR.

Sunday was the 35th Anniversary of the very first episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault from Saturday, February 9th of 1985. My psychotically obsessive research on the show has yielded a lot of info over the years but I have now worn out every source I could find.

Even the show’s co-host and co-creator Randy Clower has been bled dry of information on the show by me. Over the years other fans of the show – and a special shout-out goes to “the Cap’n” – have provided info here and there that often led me to concrete source material.

Anyway, here are some movies that we have general, varied reason to believe were shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault but I need original broadcast dates, info on comedy sketches or movie ticket give-aways, etc. Episodes aired for 2 and a half hours Saturday nights from 10:30pm to 1:00am in Texas and Oklahoma.

Fiend without a faceFIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958)

The Film: “Thought Monsters” leech into atomic energy, then extract human brains and spinal columns to use as their corporeal forms. This is a Bad Movie Classic remembered largely because of the scenes where the flying brains, sporting antennae, attack their prey, with their spinal cord “tails” streaming along behind them.     

Serial Episode: No idea, for now.

Reason for believing it was shown: Some of the Flying Brain Creatures are on the 1987 Texas 27 Film Vault poster. Continue reading

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